The study ranked school library programs based on certified staffing, library accessibility, resources, and technology and found that “the one key factor distinguishing high-performing high-poverty schools from low-performing high-poverty schools is a quality library program” (Coker, 2015, p. Graduation rates and test scores in reading and math were significantly higher in schools with high-quality libraries and certified librarians, even after controlling for school size and poverty.
No standards-based test fully captures the extent to which quality school library programs contribute to students’ mastery of state or national academic standards.
The Pennsylvania study (Lance & Schwarz, 2012) found that while 1.6% fewer students tested at the Below Basic level in reading when they had full-time librarians than those who did not, the difference was even greater for Black students (5.5%), Latino students (5.2%), and students with disabilities (4.6%).
Even higher academic gains were evident among student subgroups if their schools had more library staff, larger library collections, and greater access to technology, databases, and the library itself.
In states that gained librarians between 2004--09, average reading scores for poor students, Black students, and Latino students improved more than in states that lost librarians.
In states that lost librarians, English language learners’ scores dropped by almost 3% (Lance & Hofschire, 2011b).
In addition, better test scores have been associated with: School administrators are trained to understand and support teachers and instruction.
However, research suggests that universities seldom prepare administrators to leverage their school library programs to enhance student achievement (Kachel, 2006; Wilson & Mac Neil, 1998).
Librarians and student achievement In these statewide studies, the most substantial and consistent finding is a positive relationship between full-time, qualified school librarians and scores on standards-based language arts, reading, and writing tests, regardless of student demographics and school characteristics.
For example, a national study using data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and 4th-grade National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading scores documented that losses of librarians are associated with declines or inferior gains in reading scores, while gains of librarians are associated with improved scores (Lance & Hofschire, 2011a).